Frequently asked questions

Can you help me?

As experienced defence solicitors, we deal with
a wide variety of criminal cases and will be able
to help and advise you. Why not give us a call
today and see if we can help.

Do you deal with serious cases?

We believe that every case where a person
has been charged with a criminal offence is a
serious case. However, if you are asking if we
deal with cases such as murder, manslaughter,
serious fraud, money laundering, assaults,
sexual offences and the like, then yes we do.

What about Legal Aid?

We have a legal aid contract to help fund most types of criminal defence work which are covered by legal aid. Some cases, such as speeding and drink driving are not covered and would need to be funded on a private basis.

Can you represent me at a Police Station?

Yes we can. After you have been arrested it is always best to get legal representation as soon as you can. No matter what the time of day please give us a call and we will get one of our team to you.

Police Station advice & representation

If you are ever arrested or asked to go to the Police Station voluntarily, you are entitled to free independent legal advice no matter what your financial circumstances are.

We have a team of Solicitors and Accredited Police Station Representatives who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, to come to your assistance and provide you with this essential free advice and assistance. All our team have considerable experience of dealing with a wide range of offences, from the relatively minor to the most serious.

Whatever may have happened to you, the experience of being questioned by the Police is extremely daunting, stressful and complex. That is why the law states that you must be told of your right to have this free advice and assistance when you are questioned by the Police.

If you are ever arrested all you need do is simply tell the Police you wish for Virdee Solicitors to assist you. The Police will then call us and we will arrange to attend and advise you.

If you are asked to attend the Police Station as a volunteer, you are still entitled to free legal advice. Just call us beforehand to arrange for a representative from our firm to attend the Police Station with you, or if out of office hours, please call our 24 hour telephone number which can be found at the top of this page.

You have rights whilst at the Police Station and this is perhaps the most important of them all. Remember it is free.

The decision that you make whether to answer questions in your Police Interview or not is often the most important stage in any criminal investigation. It is vital that you obtain legal advice. Do not be alone at such an anxious and worrying time, let Virdee Solicitors help you.

 

Arrests and detention

Only the Police, Customs Officers and Border Police have the power of arrest. If a crime is suspected then an arrest may be made, a suspect is then usually taken to a police station or detention centre where they are likely to be interviewed under caution. All suspects in this situation are entitled to speak to an independent lawyer free of charge.

The police may assist other law enforcement officers with their investigations by making arrests on behalf of Trading Standards Officers, Environment Agency Officers, Financial Conduct Authority Officers, Serious Fraud Office Officers and Health and Safety Executive Officers. Suspects arrested in these circumstances are still taken to a police station or detention centre; they enjoy exactly the same entitlement to speak to an independent lawyer free of charge.

Search Warrants

As part of any investigation, search warrants can be obtained by investigators. These may be for your home or professional address. We can be on hand to assist with this to ensure that the law is complied with, that any legal professional privilege is not breached and that copies are preserved or obtained.

Interviews under Caution

Not all interviews under caution take place whilst under arrest, in fact, it is more common for those considered to be a suspect in an allegation to be contacted and make an arrangement to speak to the investigators by way of a mutually arranged voluntary interview. The right to legal representation is exactly the same as under arrest and if a police officer is present, the right to legal advice remains free. Where the interview is conducted by non police investigators, the entitlement to legal advice still exists but you will have to pay for that advice.

We recommend that anyone who is to submit to any interview under caution is legally represented. You will be questioned about very serious matters which may have a vital bearing on your future or that of your family. Being legally represented at an interview is not an admission of guilt or wrongdoing, it is merely the exercise of a fundamental right which forms part of the backbone of our criminal justice system to ensure that only those guilty of wrongdoing are ultimately convicted.

Virdee Solicitors can assist you with an Arrest or Interview under Caution, or if you have already been interviewed without a lawyer and released with or without bail whilst the investigation continues, you are still strongly advised to seek legal advice from us. Get in touch as soon as possible.

Magistrates’ Court

All criminal cases are commenced in the Magistrates’ Court. Very serious allegations will immediately be transferred to the Crown Court.

If you have been charged by the Police, have received a postal requisition from the Police or Crown Prosecution Service or a summons from another law enforcement body we recommend that you contact us. We will be able to provide you with advice on the offence that you face, the court procedure, whether you should plead guilty or not guilty and the consequences of doing either. Some allegations can be tried in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court, there are evidential and tactical considerations for choosing both; we can advise you regarding this decision.

It is our job to achieve the best outcome for you at court, be it by securing an acquittal if you plead not guilty or mitigating for you to secure the lowest sentence available if you plead guilty or are convicted. Virdee Solicitors are skilled advocates with significant experience of appearing in court.

Crown Court

The Crown Court handles all the serious criminal cases. Trials are heard in front of a Judge and Jury.

Once a matter has been transferred to the Crown Court from the Magistrates’ Court, there will be a number of preliminary hearings where the evidence is served and a timetable for any trial date set.

Often the volume of evidence in Crown Court cases is significant and will need to be considered in detail by your legal team. In addition to your case being overseen by one of our lawyers, you will have an advocate instructed, either one of our own experienced Solicitor-Advocates or Barristers or an independent barrister. We routinely work with the most highly regarded barristers and Queen’s Counsel.

Good lawyers are proactive. It is not just about looking at the prosecution evidence but knowing what information to ask for. It is about instructing the right experts and making sure you have an expert barrister. It is about leaving no stone unturned. We will advise you if the evidence is against you and we will advise you of any potential defences.

Legal Aid

Where available we will undertake criminal instructions on a legal aid basis. Legal aid is available, free of charge, for all suspects under arrest or being interviewed under caution by a police officer. In such circumstances, legal aid is not means or merit tested and only covers work done within the police station or interview setting. Any work you require us to do between interviews will be chargeable.

If you are charged with a criminal offence and proceedings are commenced in a Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court legal aid may be available.

In all cases the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) will determine your application for funding. Firstly, all cases have to pass what is known as the interests of justice test – simply, is the case serious enough for the state to pay for your legal representation? If your matter passes this test, the LAA will then go on to consider the second part of the test of whether you qualify for the means test. This will mean that the LAA will consider your (and where applicable, your partner’s) disposable income, savings and assets. If you then pass this part of the test, you will be granted legal aid. Please be aware that you may have to make a contribution to the cost of your legal aid; if you are ordered to do so, the payment does not come to us, but is made to the LAA.

If you are ultimately convicted of any offence, the Court may order you to pay some or all of the costs that the LAA will pay this firm for representing you. Again, this is a payment that is made to the LAA and not to us.

Legal Aid Entitlement

The interests of justice test exists to ensure that only the more serious of matters receive state funded legal representation. Many of the offences in a Magistrates’ Court are at the lower end of the severity spectrum such as minor public order matters, most traffic or motoring offences or offences where a custodial sentence is unlikely to have legal aid granted.

Similarly, the means test for legal aid is low so that only those with very low disposable incomes qualify for state funded legal representation. A detailed analysis of your income and assets will be undertaken by the LAA when considering this second part of the application process. If you are self-employed or a director of a company for example, you will have to provide significant and complex documentation about your accounts, tax obligations and shareholdings.

Even if legal aid is granted, there are limits to what it will cover in terms of type of opinion that might be required from an expert – for example a forensic scientist or the level of seniority of advocate that will be provided to represent you in court – for example, Queen’s Counsel.

If you are ineligible for legal aid or do not wish to apply, we can offer solutions to funding your matter. Where appropriate, we can offer fixed fees for certain matters, so that you know exactly what your costs will be for all aspects of your case. Where fixed fees are not appropriate, we will agree hourly rates with you, discuss the work required and your needs and provide detailed estimates of the costs. In all cases we will update you regularly, so that you know what you are spending on legal fees.

Complaints Handling Procedure

We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care and aim to offer all our clients an efficient and effective service. However, if our clients would like to discuss how the service to them could be improved, the level of their bill, or should there be any aspect of our service with which they are not satisfied, we ask them to please contact the person in our firm responsible for complaints Handling: Mr Jas Virdee, Director and Senior Solicitor on mail@virdeesolicitors.com or 0207 316 3017 or Office 124, 239 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6SN.

We are committed to high quality legal advice and client care and are keen to resolve any concerns as soon as possible and in order to do this, will follow our complaints handling procedure.

Our complaints procedure is as follows:

Step One

If they have not already done so, we ask our clients to let us know the full nature of the problem.

Step Two

Our Complaints Handling Representative will write to the client acknowledging their complaint within five working days. In this letter, we shall confirm what happens next.

Step Three

Our complaints Handling Representative shall then investigate the matter by reviewing the matter file and speaking to the member of staff concerned within five working days of acknowledging receipt of the complaint. If, for some reason, the matter cannot be investigated in this timeframe, then we will write to the client notifying them of this together with the reason why and giving a revised timescale.

Once the investigation has been completed, our Complaints Handling Representative shall invite the client to a meeting to discuss the issue(s) they have raised and hopefully resolve the complaint. This meeting will take place within fourteen days of sending the acknowledgement letter to the client. Following the meeting, our Complaints Handling Representative shall write to the client within five working days of the meeting to confirm the discussion and the solution agreed upon.

If the client does not want to or is unable to attend such a meeting (or the meeting is not necessary), we will be happy to send the client a detailed, written response, including the proposed solution, within fourteen working days of sending the letter acknowledging receipt of the complaint.

Step Four

If the client is satisfied with our response following the above steps, that will be the end of the matter. However, if the client is not satisfied, they will be invited to contact our Complaints Handling Representative again and HE will arrange for another Director, Mrs Taj Virdee to review the decision. She will write to the client within fourteen days of receiving the request with confirmation of the firm’s final position in relation to the complaint, outlining the reasons and any final redress that is offered.

Step Five

Clients must always try complaining to us first. In most cases they will not be able to take their complaint further without allowing us the opportunity to put things right.

Legal Ombudsman

We are permitted a minimum of eight weeks to consider the complaint. If for any reason we are unable to resolve the problem between us within that timeframe, then our clients are advised that they may ask the Legal Ombudsman to consider the complaint.

Clients are free to refer any complaint about our work, fees or level of service but there are some conditions and time limits. Please be aware that any complaint to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six months of the client having received a final written response from us about their complaint. Complaints to the Legal Ombudsman must usually be made within six years of the act or omission about which the client is complaining occurring; or within three years from when the client should have known about or become aware that there were grounds for complaint. The Legal Ombudsman will not accept complaints where the act or date of awareness was before 6 October 2010.

For further information, please contact the Legal Ombudsman on 0300 555 0333 or visit www.legalombudsman.org.uk. The Legal Ombudsman may be contacted at PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton WV1 9WJ.

Solicitors Regulation Authority

If someone thinks a solicitor might be dishonest or you have concerns about their ethics or integrity, they have the right to notify our regulator, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). There are no time limits for making a report but there are limits on what the SRA will consider. Please note that the SRA is not able to deal with issues of poor service (complaints of this nature should instead be referred to the Legal Ombudsman). For further information about the SRA’s role, please contact the SRA or visit:
https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/report-solicitor.page#report

Further Information

For further information about our complaints handling procedures, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Jas Virdee, Director and Senior Solicitor on mail@virdeesolicitors.com or 0207 316 3017 or Office 124, 239 Kensington High Street, London, W8 6SN.

Contact Virdee Solicitors

CALL US NOW ON 0207 316 3017 (LONDON) / 07525 657190 (24 HOURS)